Interview with Shane Ryan about SNUFF: THE ANTHOLOGY, which is now accepting submissions

SNUFF AnthologyBy Jonathan Weichsel

Mad Sin Cinema and LostWitch Releasing are now accepting submissions for Snuff: The Anthology. From Shane Ryan, creator of the Amateur Porn Star Killer Trilogy, Snuff will bring to you the finest faux rape and murder scenes from around the globe. "The best part for the filmmakers," says Ryan, "is that we've worked out a deal so that even films not accepted into the anthology will get released on VHS and/or DVD through LostWitch Releasing (in talks with more VHS/DVD companies as well). It's win-win for everybody."

I sat down and asked Shane Ryan a few brief questions about the project.

JW: Hey Shane, I thought up a few questions that I would want answered if I were submitting to Snuff: The Anthology. Are you ready?

SR: Yes.

JW: To be honest, I'm a little confused by what you are looking for. What do you mean by Faux Snuff? Isn't that a contradiction in terms? Are you looking for films that try to pass themselves off as authentic snuff films, are you looking for narrative horror shorts with very realistic kills, or are you in fact looking for actual snuff films and you just put the "faux" in there to avoid liability?

SR: I guess "seeking fake real murder caught on camera" sounds pretty ridiculous, huh? Yes, please submit to me the real thing and make me famous on my way to jail! Ha, just kidding, no way. Yes, make sure that these are fake. In fact, no killing/harm shall be allowed to any species, not even insects. This is all make believe. I do, however, want the submissions to appear to be so real, that, in fact, maybe we do end up in jail (until proven fake). I'm all about realism, so you better know how to capture it before thinking about submitting.

What we need are fake movies which appear to be real murders caught on camera. It does not simply need to be just a violent murder scene, in fact I would prefer that there be a story and/or interesting characters or a psychology angle, just make sure it appears as if the story was simply "caught on camera," not scripted with a shot list. As if you were making a documentary and some crazy shit just happened to go down and you had the camera rolling. Or you're videotaping at a friend's birthday party and somebody gets raped and killed in the other room and you caught it on camera while looking for the restroom. Or you're a serial killer documenting his crimes. Or simply a robbery turned deadly and it's caught on the surveillance cameras. Since I, the producer, am going to exploit this to the world for entertainment purposes, your character does not need to be somebody who is aware that they are making a snuff film. I.e. snuff films are made for the purpose of profit and/or entertainment. But since I, the scumbag entertainment person, am going to exploit this "real murder," your character could simply be somebody who caught a real murder taking place and was not intentionally making a snuff film.

I just need to say it clearly; realism. We want realism. This needs to look like actual "found footage." It doesn't need to be bloody, it can be a bloodless kill (i.e. death by asphyxiation,) just make sure that it feels and looks legitimately real.

JW: How will submissions be judged? Will they be judged solely on the basis of the kill, or will you be judging the films as a whole? What kinds of movies would you like to see as part of the anthology?

SR: We have several judges, other than myself. We'll watch them after the deadline (Halloween) and decide as a group which are best for the anthology. Again, what we want is realism. If your film as a whole is amazing, but you made your cinematic version of David Fincher's Zodiac, then no, it's not getting in. While it may be the best short ever made, if it doesn't look like a snuff film, I'm sorry, you're out. If your death scene is bloody and real as hell, but your actors don't sell it, like at all, you're probably out. Get good actors. I find that the best ones to capture realism aren't usually actors but real people. Look at how real a Gus Van Sant film seems, Harmony Korine, Larry Clark, Ken Loach, John Cassavetes, Terrence Malick; they would use lots of real people, or friends who were dying to act but hadn't done anything yet, or just let their actors - sometimes Hollywood, like Malick - freely find their characters and follow them based off of loose outlines, etc., and they capture such beauty and realism. Now, these are far from snuff film directors, but if you follow their guide with a snuff synopsis, I'm sure you'll deliver something truly unique and real.

I'd love to see something that looks like it came from one of these directors if say they went on an underground filmmaking splurge. I want submissions by women, too. I'd kill to have half of these segments come from a women's perspective. I thought I knew of lots of women indie filmmakers I could contact but I guess I'm thinking of Hollywood indie directors, like Claire Denis, Kelly Reichardt, Debra Granik, Lynne Ramsay, Kimberly Pierce, Mary Harron, Kathryn Bigelow, Asia Argento, Mary Lambert, hell even Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska are mainstream indie now. I can't even think of anyone other than like three girls I've already asked. We also are dying for foreign submissions. We want the perspective of snuff to be from around the world. Get me Gaspar Noé, Takashi Miike, Xavier Gens, Pascal Laugier, Alexandre Aja, Srdjan Spasojevic, Tom Six. Bring us Hollywood gore hounds Eli Roth, Rob Zombie, Adam Wingard, Ti West, and genius weirdos like David Cronenberg, Lars von Trier, Vincent Gallo, Shane Carruth. I mean, do any of these directors ring a bell? Can you capture anything like the way that they would? Then do it. That's what we want.

JW: What do you hope filmmakers who submit get out of the experience? Is it just a chance to be a part of an anthology, or are you trying to challenge filmmakers to break boundaries with this concept? Or something else?

SR: Hollywood has cashed in on the mockumentary scene since The Blair Witch Project - though they didn't really get on the band wagon until Paranormal Activity - but it started with indie/underground filmmaking because it was a way that we could be seen, get our voice heard, without having to spend a shit ton of money which we don't have. And you can't get this kind of outlet on censored fucking youtube with these kinds of films (plus it doesn't feel like real distribution that way,) so where do you go? I want this to be a place where zero budget filmmakers can go, collaborate, push themselves, and be able to afford to do so. If you don't have the time to make a 90 minute movie, fine, make a 2 minute movie, get it into the anthology, and then it still gets released as a feature film. It still gets real distribution. Together we can make something and get it out there, get it seen.

For me, even after having made a ton of feature films for under 100 bucks and proving that I can get them into the mainstream stores, I can't even barely get a film made anymore, because everybody wants money upfront to work on my films and I don't have any money in my budgets, whatsoever. It seems that's there's no more real artists anymore who do it simply because they feel that they have to. You know, in my case, it's either make something with nothing or make nothing, and I sure as fuck don't want to make nothing! So, if anybody out there is going through the same fucking bullshit, then let's do it! And with this subject matter, this title, hell, as long as the submissions live up to the name, this could make waves.
That's my conversation with Shane Ryan. In order to learn how to submit, follow the link:

From the press release:
Ryan got his start in the faux snuff film world in 2004, when he made a movie one random night with a friend and just forty-five bucks to his name. "This came after years of working on feature films with scripts, shot lists, moderate budgets (in the thousands; still low, but all I had in the bank), and nothing to show for," confesses Ryan. "Amateur Porn Star Killer was a fluke, but it worked." The movie was officially released theatrically in 2007 and then on DVD, where it took off. Ryan was instantly offered a release deal for a trilogy through Cinema Epoch and Koch Entertainment (now Entertainment One). Since then the film has been featured in numerous published books, re-released on DVD multiple times in various fashions, invited to festivals all around the world, and more. For awhile Ryan became ashamed of the films, he even dabbled with changing his name and/or putting alias' on his newer, more "arthouse" driven films. But in the past year he's decided to embrace the genre. "I think doing this anthology is my way of moving on from this world of faux snuff. It's become a huge part of who I am as an artist. I need to accept that to move on, not pretend like it doesn't exist. There are plenty of horror filmmakers dying to be a part of this world; why not pass it on instead?"

But not without first releasing the sister anthology to Snuff; Ted Bundy Had a Son. "Bundy will be the anthology answer to the APSK Trilogy," says Ryan. "Sort of a like an uncensored A&E documentary on the fictional character of Brandon (the serial killer in the series)." Submission guidelines for Ted Bundy Had a Son will be posted soon (concept teaser trailer available here In the meantime, get your Snuff-on, over at

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